“I remember Billy Graham and all the amazing crusades he had … (and) the stadiums filled with people. He really connected with them through his words,” said retired Pastor Paul Lamb, whose ministry in Norwalk lasted 33 years. “His message was always filled with hope, Christ and promise.”
Graham died Wednesday at the age of 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C., his spokesman Jeremy Blume told CNN.
“I think Billy Graham was a profoundly godly man,” said Lamb, who also believed the evangelist had a “pure-hearted spirit.”
“He was an outstanding pastor. He brought so many people to the church and to God,” the retired American Baptist pastor added.
President Donald Trump paid tribute to Graham on Twitter.
“There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man,” Trump tweeted.
Former President George H.W. Bush called Graham “America’s pastor” and said he was a mentor to several of his children, including former President George W. Bush. The elder Bush said he was privileged to count Graham as a “personal friend.”
“His faith in Christ and his totally honest, evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world. I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths because he was such a good man,” Bush said in a statement to CNN.
Lamb said Graham will be known for his impact on various presidents and CEOs of companies and his ability to connect with them in ways other people couldn’t.
“They always would seek him out for his advice and wisdom,” Lamb added. “I was always impressed with that.”
“I think he (Graham) ministered to people of all denominations. I think he did a great job of being America’s pastor,” said the Rev. Amy Little, of Trinity Lutheran Church in Monroeville. “He’s not controversial at all. I think he supported people in the civil rights movement and women’s rights.”
While Little said there have been many ministers who have been divisive, that wasn’t the case with Graham.
“He was the premier evangelist, but he never beat people over the head with it,” she said. “He always brought people together.”